• With the space procured and ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), EATTA will continue having weekly auctions.
• All buyers participating in both the secondary and primary auctions to send only one representative.
The East African Tea Trade Association(EATTA) has issued new guidelines for the weekly Mombasa tea auction.
EATTA deferred both Monday's secondary auction and Tuesday's primary auction as a move to contain the spread of the coronavirus
It said the postponement was to allow for the securing of more space that could accommodate all players while complying with the directive by the health ministry on distancing between persons.
"With the space procured and ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), we should continue having weekly auctions," EATTA managing director Edward Mudibo said on Tuesday.
Sale 12 secondary action will now be held on Wednesday at the EATTA auction room starting at 8.00 am.
Auction Sale 12 main grade auction will be held on Thursday at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel Conference hall starting at 7.30 am.
Only one buyer representative will be allowed to attend the auctions. However, buyers with three auction seats will be allowed to bring one more representative.
“Brokers will be expected to appear in time for the auction proceedings and to depart immediately after they have sold,” Mudibo said.
The association has also requested brokers not to send any data clerks to the auction and instead to collect data from their offices.
“Prompt dates will be reviewed to reflect these changes. For planning purposes, Auction-Sale 13, the secondary auction will be held at the EATTA Auction room on March 31, while the primary auction will be held at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel on April 1,” Mudibo said.
The Mombasa Tea Auction is one of the largest in the world where tea from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo is traded.
A complete shutdown of the weekly tea auction is likely to have a detrimental multiplier effect on several sectors along the supply chain including factories, warehousing, transporters, and farmers.
“If the auction is shut, factories will not process more tea, tea farms will lay off pickers, warehouses will close down and transporters will also be affected,” Mudibo said.
The tea sector is already grappling with oversupply owing to prolonged rainfalls in tea growing areas in the country. This led to a drop in auction prices.